Full AirTV Review
In my quest for the perfect entertainment solution, I continue to try different options. I have signed up for all of the OTT (over-the-top, meaning content delivered over the Internet) services, and I still have yet to find one that checks all my boxes. These services are getting close, but they aren’t quite there yet. With AirTV, I am now one step closer to my ultimate cord cutting solution goal!
My ultimate goal would be one place I could purchase individual channels through, not packages of channels I’ll never watch or need. SlingTV is the closest to this since you can purchase different channel type packages, but I would prefer to not have to pay for the base package. I only want to pay for the exact channels I actually watch. I also want local channels included in the service.
The problem with local channels
One of the criteria I have for my ultimate cord cutting solution is the ability to watch local channels like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc. There are some TV shows that don’t make it over to Hulu. Occasionally I also enjoy live events I like to watch like awards shows or sporting events (like the Olympics).
When I cut the cord to DirecTV way back when I purchased an outdoor antenna. I unplugged the cord from the satellite dish on my roof and plugged it directly into the antenna. I did have to point the antenna in a different direction than the dish was pointing. Then I zip tied the antenna to the dish, and voila… my whole house was already wired for antenna reception.
Tangent: Why I hated my TiVo
The next thing I did was purchase a TiVo. I unplugged the DirecTV box, put the TiVo up in its place and I didn’t miss a beat. The problem with this setup, however, is the monthly fee associated with using a TiVo box. I couldn’t even watch TV until I got my subscription set up.
There really is no reason for TiVo to charge so much for a subscription to their service. The only thing they REALLY provide is the software and a guide. Also, I was forced into a 2-year contract for the TiVo service. That is an unacceptable business practice these days. If I’m going to pay $15/month I should be able to cancel at any time. Especially when I didn’t rent or lease any equipment.
Plus, if I wanted to watch local TV shows in any other room in the house I would have to purchase additional equipment.
So, while the setup worked great, I still wasn’t happy with it completely. I would have to switch my TV to the TiVo to watch local channels and use the Roku when I wanted to watch SlingTV. There wasn’t really a place I could find all of the content that was currently airing.
Back to the problems with local stations
While many OTT platforms have local channels available, they are not available in all areas. You have to wait until the service is opened up in your particular area in order to gain access to the local channels. Fortunately for me, most of them are available in my area, and I have tried them all (YouTubeTV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, SlingTV and Hulu Live). If you live in an area that does not offer it, however, you won’t be able to take advantage of that part of those services.
Why I chose SlingTV despite the addition of local channels
As I mentioned, my super ideal service doesn’t exist yet, but I felt that despite the local channels, which I grudgingly received through my TiVo, SlingTV had the best selection of channels for my needs. It is the least expensive way to get all three Hallmark channel streaming options and offered all of the other channels on my list for the best price. It also has DVR capabilities, which not all OTT services do.
Why AirTV is a great solution to the problem
I decided I wanted to try out the AirTV to see if it could replace my TiVo… that I’m still paying a monthly fee on for at least another 3 months <insert eyeroll>. I reached out to AirTV to see if I could get my hands on a review unit, and they were happy to send me one. The model I have retails for about $120. I do already play for SlingTV on my own.
What really interested me about the product was the fact I could see my antenna channels mixed into the SlingTV guide, just like it was one combined service. I also really loved the fact that anywhere I had SlingTV installed I could watch the antenna channels, without additional equipment. All the TVs in my house run on Roku, so this was perfect.
Setting up the AirTV
The setup process for the AirTV was incredibly simple. I unplugged the coax cable from the TiVo and plugged it into the AirTV. As I mentioned previously, my house was wired from my DirecTV installation, and the antenna is on the roof. The other end of the coax cable goes into the wall in my case. If you have an indoor antenna, you would just plug the antenna directly into the AirTV.
Next, I plugged the power in, and that was it!! Once the device was up and running, I had to open the SlingTV app on my phone. I did make the mistake and try to set it up through the SlingTV app on the Roku. That apparently does not work. I already had the app on my phone, so I just had to open it up, go to settings, and then tap “Over the Air Channels”.
The app walked me through getting the AirTV connected to my WiFi network and discovering the channels it could broadcast. Once it was done I loaded up the app on my Roku, and there the local channels were!
I was able to access the antenna channels from every TV in my house, and on my mobile device, even when I was not at home. As I mentioned previously, the guide for the antenna channels was completely integrated into the rest of the channels I already subscribe to through SlingTV.
What I don’t like about the AirTV
One thing I don’t like about the AirTV is really only a minor complaint. The design is a little bit boxy and seems bigger than it needs to be. Plus there are 2 red indicator lights on the front of the device. I would prefer them on top of the device, or a less bold color. It feels like something evil is staring at me when I’m trying to watch TV. This is especially true when it’s dark.
The other thing I don’t like I actually think will be resolved soon. Currently, I cannot add any of the antenna shows to the DVR service I already have through SlingTV. The company does say that it is coming soon though. I’m not sure if it will integrate with SlingTV’s Cloud DVR service, or if I’ll need to install an external hard drive. I would be fine with either setup.
Overall, it is a very basic device, which is fine with me. If only I could DVR the shows, it would be perfect service-wise. Most of what I want to watch through the antenna though I would want to watch live, so it doesn’t bother me too much. Now if only we could do something about those eyes staring into my soul….
Have an AirTV? Tell us what you think!
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